Many Kansas City residents rely on nursing homes and assisted living facilities to provide compassionate medical care and living assistance to their elderly loved ones. While these facilities and their staff have a moral and legal obligation to provide an acceptable standard of care to the patients in their charge, nursing home abuse, unfortunately, can and does happen. It’s important for anyone with an elderly loved one in a Kansas City nursing home to know how to spot the warning signs of nursing home abuse.
Changes in Your Loved One’s Behavior
Any sudden changes in your loved one’s demeanor during your visits should send up a red flag that he or she may be facing abuse in the nursing home. If your loved one appears depressed, distracted, withdrawn, or irritable, he or she may be afraid to speak up about the abuse out of fear of the abuser. It’s important to keep close tabs on your elderly loved ones in a nursing home and pay attention to changes in their behavior.
If your loved one has bruises, cuts, or other injuries that he or she cannot explain and the staff cannot provide an acceptable explanation, this should be a major warning sign. Elderly individuals are less resilient than younger people, and physical abuse can lead to severe medical complications. Nursing homes must properly document resident injuries, so ask for documentation or an incident report if your loved one has a strange injury.
Many nursing home residents face financial exploitation. The most common offenders of this type of elder abuse are family members with access to their elderly loved ones’ finances, but it’s possible for a nursing home staff member to take advantage as well. If you notice your loved one appears to have written personal checks without explanation, applied for new credit cards or loans, or cash or valuables have gone missing from his or her room, these could all indicate financial abuse.
Sudden Changes in Your Loved One’s Health
Many elderly individuals manage multiple medical conditions, so it’s likely that your elderly loved one receives some kind of regular care for his or her infirmities. If your loved one suddenly develops a new medical condition, or a previously diagnosed medical condition suddenly worsens, these could be indications that your loved one has not received appropriate medical care. Medication errors or negligence can cause your elderly loved one to decline rapidly, so it’s imperative to keep a close eye on his or her health.
Environmental Evidence of Abuse or Neglect
Nursing homes must ensure their residents have clean bedding and clothes. If your loved one’s room appears dirty or he or she is in soiled clothes and bedsheets, this could be a sign of neglect. Make sure the facility is clean and in working order during your visits. If you notice clutter in common areas, soiled sheets, and clothing, or the staff seem uninterested in keeping the rooms clean, these could be indications that they are neglecting your loved one.
Staff and Resident Behavior
If you have concerns about abuse in your loved one’s nursing home, try to ask other residents about their experiences. If they seem hesitant to talk, this could be a sign that an abusive environment exists in the facility. Ask staff members about your concerns as well. This can give you a better idea of what goes on at the nursing home when you are not there.
Bedsores are pressure ulcers that form when an individual remains in bed for too long without moving. Many nursing home residents must remain in bed for most or all of the day, and staff must regularly reposition them to prevent bedsores from forming. Bedsores can worsen very quickly and can rupture, leaving your loved one vulnerable to infection. If your loved one has developed bedsores, this could indicate that staff is neglecting their duties and not repositioning your loved one as needed.
Keep an eye out for these warning signs and anything else that stands out to you as strange during your nursing home visits. It’s important to keep in touch with your elderly loved ones and stay vigilant for signs of abuse so you can put a stop to it as soon as possible.
Do You Believe Your Loved One May Be Experiencing Nursing Home Abuse or Neglect in Kansas City, Missouri?
If you feel your loved one is being subjected to nursing home abuse or neglect you should speak with an experienced nursing home abuse lawyer as soon as possible. Please feel free to contact us online or call our office directly at 816.832.4688 to schedule your free consultation. We are proud to serve Kansas City, Missouri, and the surrounding area and look forward to speaking with you.